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Jennifer L., 21 – FUNDED

School is life right now for Jennifer L. who is setting the bar high as both an undergraduate senior, majoring in Information Science and minoring in Psychology while concurrently pursuing her Master’s degree in Information Science. So, it’s no coincidence that this New Face of Tech winner’s dream is to work as a product designer for a technology company that helps develop products to facilitate education — both inside and outside of the classroom. Call it tech for good — making a positive social impact on the next generation — and Jennifer is all about it.

What does being the New Face of Tech mean to you?

For me, being the New Face of Tech means representing and advocating for those underrepresented in STEAM fields. I hope that sharing my story and journey will inspire others, especially young girls and women, to pursue their dreams even when it seems as if there are not many people like themselves who are in the field. They are definitely not alone and are supported by others — like me.

Women are underrepresented in STEAM. How can we change this?

Closing this gender gap requires bringing more awareness to the problem and encouraging female empowerment in STEAM. I think it is very important to unite women and allies in actively speaking out against any form of this bias and investing in young girls and women’s STEAM education and professional development in the workplace.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

As someone who did not have any previous experience in computer science before college, I was frequently frustrated and disappointed in myself for not picking up course content as quickly as my peers. Despite truly enjoying what I was learning, these feelings initially made me think I was “not right” for tech and at times still bring about imposter syndrome when I am working with others.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

As a first-generation college student, I have received a lot of encouragement and support from my family who keep me motivated and remind me of how grateful I am for my opportunities. I am also a part of several female communities — both on-campus and online — with women who not only share my passion for computing, but who I also can turn to for guidance and advice when it comes to achieving my goals.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN help you reach your goals?

The 1,000 Dreams Fund will help me alleviate the costs of pursuing my master’s program and enable me to focus on expanding my skill set and exploring organizations that reflect my interests, values, and future career interests. And with HARMAN’s resources and support, I can expand my network and learn from experienced professionals who can help me reach my goals.